White House asked for options to strike Iran

14 January, 2019, 18:41 | Author: Wade Massey
  • The US embassy in Baghdad Iraq seen from across the Tigris river

The New York Times penned a piece on Sunday in which the paper ripped national security adviser, John R. Bolton, painting him as an extremist eager for war, writing, "Senior Pentagon officials are voicing deepening fears that President Trump's hawkish national security adviser, John R. Bolton, could precipitate a conflict with Iran at a time when Mr. Trump is losing leverage in the Middle East by pulling out American troops".

Official White House policy does not call for regime change in Iran, and Bolton has said he would implement the President's agenda.

Following revelations of Israel's strikes against Iranian targets in Syria, it became known that Washington had also mulled over plans to attack Iran after three mortar shells landed in Baghdad's diplomatic quarter near the US Embassy in September 2018.

The Defense Department did draw up the plans, but it is unclear if they were presented to the White House, or if the president knew of Bolton's request, according to the Journal. According to the Wall Street Journal, the request was made after several shells landed in Baghdad's green zone, near the U.S. embassy last September.

The newspaper based its report on anonymous current and former USA officials.

Garrett Marquis, speaking for the National Security Council responded to the report by stating it 'coordinates policy and provides the president with options to anticipate and respond to a variety of threats'.

Later in the month, US National Security Adviser John Bolton issued a stark public warning to Tehran: "There will be hell to pay" if Iran continued to "cross" the US and its allies.

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There was also an air strike near a USA diplomatic facility in Basra, Iraq.

The State Department did not comment on the report.

In one NSC meeting, then deputy national security advisor Mira Ricardel called the attacks in Iraq an "act of war" and called for a decisive United States response.

The statement added: "The United States will hold the regime in Tehran accountable for any attack that results in injury to our personnel or damage to United States Government facilities".

"America will respond swiftly and decisively in defence of American lives".

Mr. Bolton's request reflects the administration's more confrontational approach toward Tehran, one that he has pushed since taking up the post last April.

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